Monday, July 21, 2014

Miss Idaho has type 1 diabetes -- and isn't afraid to show off her insulin pump!

I was thrilled to see the NPR story on Thursday about Miss Idaho, who competed in the Miss Idaho pageant with her insulin pump visible to the world.

I've always taken my shots in plain sight of everyone, despite the responses of some people who seem to think I would be embarrassed to do so, or that it's something private.  I've never agreed with either attitude, so it's encouraging to me to see a beautiful young woman, a cultural icon like this, helping to change society's opinion about such things.  I hope a lot of girls, teens, and women with type 1 diabetes are encouraged to be less ashamed or embarrassed by their condition because of Sierra Sandison.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Big results from small changes

I've been amazed lately how small changes have produced big results in my control.

About six weeks ago, a major change in my personal life caused me to change my eating habits quite a bit.  I used to eat large dinners all the time, and I found that my blood sugars were often high in the evening and the following morning.  All of that is changing now, though.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Diabetes and transparency: Can kids handle seeing diabetics check their blood sugar and take shots?

As a nanny and a babysitter, I constantly deal with the issue of whether to let kids see me taking care of my diabetes: checking my blood sugar and taking injections.

I feel like this is a touchy issue for a lot of parents, but I could be wrong about that, as I have found some parents to be much more accepting of it than I had expected.  The family I nanny for part-time is totally okay with me checking my blood sugar and taking shots in front of the kids, and has been since the very beginning (I've been taking care of those kids for two and a half years now).

Monday, May 12, 2014

When doctors question cholesterol guidelines

Long-time readers of this blog know that I have some very definite opinions on how our medical industry treats cholesterol -- or rather, over-treats it.  I feel very strongly that statins are prescribed far too aggressively -- and, even scarier, doctors are getting more aggressive about it all the time.

It's bad enough that some doctors are even questioning the newest cholesterol treatment guidelines.  I didn't even realize that there were new guidelines, but apparently they are so aggressive that they would have half of all adults over 40 on statins.  The thought is preposterous and infuriating to me.  And of course, what do you want to bet the drug companies have some kind of influence in this matter?  It wouldn't make sense otherwise, especially since statins aren't really effective in lowering the risk of heart attack in people who don't have heart disease, regardless of cholesterol levels.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Young children and type 1 diabetes

When I was leaving the doctor's office today for my quarterly checkup, I saw a young boy in the hall, maybe four years old, with both of his parents trying to get him to let them check his blood sugar.  One of them had a wicked-looking lancet device in their hand, as long as a pencil, which probably wasn't helping the poor kid's anxiety any.  In any case, it made me think of what it must be like to deal with type 1 diabetes as a small child -- or as the small child's parents.

These parents were clearly having a hard time dealing with it -- or the kid was -- as I could hear him crying softly, "But it's gonna hurt, like last time!"  Poor kid.  I suspect he had just been diagnosed.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy diabetes anniversary to me!

I have been diabetic for ten years this weekend.

I don't know the exact date I was diagnosed, but I do know I went into the emergency room the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, and spent the entire weekend (four nights) in the hospital.  I was placed in the surgery ward due to a lack of beds the night of my intake, but the downside was that the hospital seemed to me, at least where I was, to be rather understaffed.

Perhaps that was why, or perhaps it was lack of communication, but the doctors who were overseeing me couldn't get my blood sugar down to save my life.  They would send someone in to check my blood sugar shortly before lunch, for example, and it was always high, but by the time they made a decision on how much insulin to give me, someone else had come in with my lunch.  I didn't know it at the time, but they needed to be correcting for my high and bolusing for my meals.  Since they weren't doing both, my blood sugar just continued to be high.

I was lucky in several respects, though.  One, I was blessed that Lantus had arrived on the market a year or so before I was diagnosed (or at least that's what the nurses told me).  Lantus was revolutionary for diabetics when it came out, eliminating the need to time meals and limit carb intake quite so much, and I am thankful that I was able to go straight to the good stuff, rather than having to muddle through on its predecessors.  (I've been on NPH a couple of times since my diagnosis, and my impression is that being on that stuff all the time would be a truly miserable way to live!)

Sometimes it's hard to believe that was ten years ago now, and other times I'm amazed that I was ever not diabetic, if you know what I mean -- it's so much a part of me now that I can't imagine life without it.  I've been diabetic for nearly a third of my life, after all -- I know many type 1 diabetics were diagnosed in childhood, which makes it far more ingrained in their lives; but at the same time, if you think about it, I've been diabetic for nearly all of my adult life.

What about you?  How long have you been diabetic?  Does it feel like a part of your life, or do you still feel like it's something that doesn't belong?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Statins may cause higher blood sugars

Remember my decision to stay off of Lipitor?  It looks like I may have made the right decision:

FDA adds new safety information to statin drugs

The FDA is adding new warnings to the labels on statins, including Lipitor.  Apparently it's been discovered that statins are causing elevated blood sugars in those who take them.  In fact, in non-diabetics, taking statins increases your chances of getting diabetes by 50 percent for longtime users.  Fifty percent!  It's almost criminal to be putting people on statins, knowing that!  The second article says that the benefits of statins for some people outweigh the risk of getting diabetes, but that seems rather unlikely to me, since developing diabetes (type 2) increases your risk of heart attack dramatically.

Not that I have to worry about increasing my risk of getting diabetes (haha), but I certainly wouldn't want to be on a medication known for increasing blood sugars!  I'm so glad I got off Lipitor all those years ago — and the grapefruit juice has been working just fine for keeping my LDL down!  In fact, last I was checked, perhaps 9 months ago, it was well under 100.  If I have any readers who are interested in finding alternatives to statins for lowering their cholesterol, I highly recommend drinking 8 ounces of not-from-concentrate grapefruit juice every day!